US Coins

Standing Liberty gold: How were first-day sales?

The second coin in the Mint's 2016 Centennial series, the Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar, remained available hours after the launch of sales at noon Eastern Time on Sept. 8, in stark contrast to the Winged Liberty Head gold dime, which sold out in less than an hour April 21.

According to a Mint press release issued about 22 hours after the sale began, 47,884 coins were recorded as sold during the first day of availability, or not quite half of the 100,000 2016-W Standing Liberty Centennial gold quarter dollars that were offered for sale.

The issue, restricted to a one-coin-per-household ordering limit, was offered at $485 per coin. Pricing is set according to the U.S. Mint’s established pricing grid.

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A number of collectors reported to Coin World they had difficulty placing orders online over the Mint’s website, as they were kicked out or the web pages closed during an attempted order. Most of those who reported their experiences to Coin World spent 15 minutes or more trying to place their orders online before successful completion and confirmation the order was received.

Some Mint customers reported they were unsuccessful in attempts to place orders using the toll-free 800-872-6468 telephone ordering line, being greeted by repeated busy signals or being cut off, before switching to the Mint's website.

An order placed by telephone through the toll-free line operated by the Mint's contractor, PFSWeb in Plano, Texas, must be reinput into the online ordering system by an operator before the order can be processed.

Several months ago, after the Mint made some online enhancements, Mint customers had to update their accounts with new passwords and make sure their billable credit card was still active before being able to place an order.

When placing orders for the Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar, however, the checkout page allowed customers to do so as a “guest” without having previously opened an account with the Mint.

Gold quarter dollar

The 2016-W coin is a quarter-ounce .9999-fine gold version of the Standing Liberty .900-fine silver quarter dollar designed by sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil and first struck in 1916. The obverse design on the gold version is the Bare Breast subtype as introduced 100 years ago. MacNeil’s original design was changed twice in 1917, first issued as a slightly modified version of the 1916 design, and then again with chain mail added to cover Liberty’s exposed right breast and a repositioning of the eagle on the reverse.

The coin is produced at the West Point Mint with a circulation-strike finish. The coin exhibits a standard, wide-reed edge, with the number of reeds at 109, according to Mint officials.

The W Mint mark appears above and left of the 2 in the date, to the right of the star there. The M above and right of the 6 in the date, right of the star there, is sculptor MacNeil’s initial.

The West Point Mint received the required planchets from Leach Garner. The planchets are received with a proto-rim that is upset, or raised, to help restrain metal flow during striking.

Before the planchets are struck into coins, the planchets are subjected to five to 10 minutes of burnishing in Spaleck burnishing equipment. The planchets are tumbled in a proprietary solution of soap, water and a mild surfactant in a tub containing steel media. After the burnishing operation is complete and the solution removed, the burnished planchets are placed on edge into trays.

A press operator at the coinage press places one planchet at a time into the coining chamber, using tongs to hold the piece by its edge.

The planchets are struck twice on a Gräbener GMP 360 coin press exerting striking pressure of 65 to 68 tons per strike to bring up the design relief.

The dies are oriented on the coinage press to strike vertically, with the obverse as the upper, hammer, die, and the reverse as the lower, anvil, die. The edge, or collar, die imparts the standard wide reeding.

There are 109 reeds.

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